Surfing and Kitesurfing Facts
- Surfing and kitesurfing spots within 50 km
32 (kitesurfing), 8 (windsurfing), 5 (surfing)
- Best time to travel - kitesurfing
September to May
- Best time to travel - surfing
October to March
- Best time to travel - windsurfing
October to March
- Recommended apparel
Bikini / swimsuit or Lycra for UV protection recommended (May-September), wetsuit (December-January)
- Flight connection
Sunshine, warm sea water and good wind systems. Tampa has gained notoriety as a kitesurfing paradise. Some kitesurf spots are just minutes away from the city centre. Experienced kiteboarders are likely to jump at the chance for a unique downwind kitesurfing experience on the 18-mile route from Gandy to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that runs along the coast of St. Petersburg.
Kitesurfing Near Downtown
When tropical storms hit Florida’s Gulf Coast, kitesurfing is practiced even during the otherwise non-windy summer season. However, these sudden winds tend to be unpredictable making it advisable to stick to kiteboarding spots closer to the shore. Situated in a large park just fifteen minutes’ drive from the city centre, the popular Picnic Island Beach is a great kitesurfing spot with westerly winds. Cypress Point Park, located on the northwest side of Tampa, is where the local kiteboarding community likes to meet for after-work sessions.
Top Surf and Kite Spots around Tampa Bay
Kitesurfing Hotspot St. Petersburg
Thanks to its Gulf location and the ideal shallow water conditions at many of its beautiful white-sand beaches, St. Petersburg is the number one kiteboarding spot for the Tampa kiteboarding community. Accordingly, most of the kitesurfing schools and shops are located on the Pinellas peninsula. It is definitely worth dropping in on Aaron McClearnon and his team at Elite Watersports. Together with his wife Vanessa, the passionate kiteboarder manages the school and its on-site shop in St. Petersburg and takes to the water almost daily. Elite Watersports usually holds its beginners’ courses at the famous St. Pete Beach.
Heading South – Kitesurfing in Fort De Soto Park
Situated southwest of St. Petersburg, Fort De Soto Park is home to a beautiful kitesurfing spot. Five interconnecting islands offer lovely beaches for a wide range of water sports activities. Kiteboarding is permitted on East Beach. The shallow waters and the consistent east wind draw beginners as well as top pros to the park, especially at weekends. Anyone wanting to spend more time in the park can stay on the popular Fort De Soto campground. Make sure to reserve ahead of time.
A Slice of Paradise for Windsurf Newbies
The arrival of strong autumn winds ensuing from cold fronts marks the beginning of Tampa’s main windsurfing season. The shallow waters at many of the beaches are a magnet for windsurfers, especially for windsurf newbies. Beginner courses at the best-known local windsurfing school, North Beach Windsurfing, take place in Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg. The beach of Fred Howard Park at Tarpon Springs is a local insider tip for advanced windsurfers. The park is situated north of Tampa in a quiet location away from the crowds.
Winter Surfing at Sunset Beach
Despite its notoriety as a kiteboarding and windsurfing mecca, surfers are sparse in Tampa and the Tampa region. Surfing in the area demands a healthy dose of patience and luck. In Bradenton, situated fifty minutes southwest of Tampa, Anna Maria Key and Holmes Beach Pier on Anna Maria Island offer sufficient swells in winter for an exciting surf. Sunset Beach on Treasure Island is another local insider tip for winter surfing.
Recommended surf schools
The following schools are excellent schools to learn how to surf: